OREM — Utah Valley University ran its winning streak to five games, outlasting Chicago State University on Thursday night in the UCCU Center, 65-56, to move to 2-0 in the Great West Conference.
Holton Hunsaker led the Wolverines (12-10) with 18 points, using a 16-point first half to help keep UVU afloat. Isiah Williams then scored 11 of his 13 in the second half as Utah Valley outscored the Cougars by 12 over the final 20 minutes.
"I anticipated a very tough game. They really fought and I give them a lot of credit," said head coach Dick Hunsaker of Chicago State. "In the second half I thought we got a bit more aggressive and settled down and were able to fight through what was an extremely competitive game."
Geddes Robinson pulled down 16 rebounds to go along with 10 points, while Keith Thompson scored 12 and Ben Aird finished with eight points and 10 boards. Robinson, who already owns the school's career rebound record, tied his single-season record set last season with his ninth double-double of the year.
Chicago State (2-18, 1-2) led by as late as eight late in the first half when other than Hunsaker, UVU couldn't get much going offensively. Hunsaker was perfect from the field in the half, hitting all four of his field goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, and was 5-of-5 from the foul line. UVU trailed 34-31 at the break.
The Wolverines trailed by three at the 16-minute mark of the second half when Williams started a 15-3 run that put Utah Valley in control. He converted on a layup and free throw to tie the game at 38 and followed with a jumper to give UVU its first lead since the midway point of the first half.
Ardarius Simmons hit a three to put CSU back in front before Aird scored six of UVU's 10 points during a run that put the Wolverines up nine, 50-41, with 10:54 to go.Comment on this story
The Cougars would crawl back into the game late, working what was a 10-point deficit down to three, 59-56, with under two minutes to go.
Thompson hit two free throws to put the Wolverines up five and, after a missed 3-point attempt on the other end of the floor, Williams went the length of the court for two to make it 63-56 with 46 seconds to go. Hunsaker then iced it with a pair from the line with 22 seconds on the clock.
Jeremy Robinson had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead CSU, while Simmons also scored 18, hitting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Clarke Rosenberg was the other Cougar in double figures with 12. Utah Valley will make the return trip to Chicago on Feb. 11.
The Wolverines wore pink uniforms for the first time in support of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers and will do so on Saturday as well when they host NJIT at 7 p.m. The first 250 fans in attendance will get a free pink T-shirt and after the game will be treated to a live performance by Kalai.